My judgment is fourfold: as a philosopher, man, American, and Christian. This post is the purely rational one.
It’s only been a few hours since I actually read Akin’s words.
Mr. Akin prompted the uproar with his response to a question in a KTVI television station interview in St. Louis about whether abortion should be legal in cases of rape. “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” he said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Hmm. It’s impossible to proceed without some editorial response.
What a maroon.
Mr. Akin, “…from what I understand from doctors” is an appeal to authority. Yours was actually a fallacious appeal to authority, because you did not show a consensus of doctors. See, when expert opinions cancel out, what happens is…they cancel out. Leaving credulous maroons, like certain ambitious politicians, to twist in the wind.
Here, Mr. Akin, we believe that all men err. Therefore appeal to human authority is never valid, even when it must be grudgingly accepted (example: brain surgery). So we’d like to explore your argument before reaching conclusions, because we’re just that weird.
With consensual sex as the baseline, what is the ratio of recreation to procreation? How often is sex done for pleasure compared to each intentional attempted pregnancy?
I tentatively assign a ratio of 100 to 1, given all this and even this. Old-school Catholics don’t practice the “rhythm method” because they hate sex for pleasure. And of course, sex during a pregnancy is solely for pleasure or intimacy. Balancing wannabe parents against a hookup culture and ubiquitous contraceptives, 100 to 1 seems about right.
Therefore, pregnancies from consensual sex must occur far less frequently than in…well, nature. And see how reason works, Mr. Akin? We can go pretty far without the need for anonymous M.D.s.
So, pregnancy-wise, how does rape compare? Factor in X number of rape victims using birth control or a past child-bearing age, then Y number of rapists with vasectomies or condoms (statistically significant, riiight). And after that? The remaining Z number of pregnancies occurs at the natural rate. Whatever that is.
So we reach Mr. Akin’s claim while necessarily concluding that rape is more likely (and probably far more likely) to cause pregnancy than consensual sex. Given that almost all consensual sex intends to avoid conception and almost all rape is indifferent to it, victims could easily be impregnated twice as often partners. Or ten times more often, for that matter.
Feel free to challenge any of these assumptions at any time, because I’m no Todd Akin. Mr. Akin believes that raped, pregnant women coming naturally to term are not only less likely, they’re “really rare”.
So it appears he postulates a quasi-sentient uterus capable of discerning wanted sperm from hated invaders. Or perhaps he’d prefer this phrasing: semi-conscious control of a semi-autonomous function previously believed to be purely autonomous. Well, as a Prince of Geeks I don’t find that theory even faintly outlandish. Please note that I have personally witnessed feats unexplained by today’s science.
The problem isn’t that the theory is outlandish. It’s that it’s rubbish. It doesn’t hold up to analysis. Only if virtually every single woman possessed this ability could rape-induced pregnancy go from “problematic” to “really rare”. In which case, that power would be reflected everywhere else. If the talent was universal, smart women would have gained conscious control of it centuries before rare-but-real dowsers controlled theirs.
So, yes, I accept that some women can exercise mental control over becoming pregnant. Given knowledge and understanding which dwarf Mr. Akin’s, I confidently estimate their prevalence at between 0.0000001 and 0.1. Percent.
The odds of Todd Akin being a maroon: 1 in 1.